Regine Allison Claire: Author of YA Fiction

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Interview with Dianne Lynn Gardner, author of “Dragon Shield”

Dragon Shield at Amazon.

 

Welcome to an interview with Dianne Lynn Gardner, a fantastic author and artist, as well as one very busy and incredibly awesome lady!

Today’s interview is part of her blog tour for the re-release of her book, Dragon Shield, the second book of her Ian’s Realm Saga.  This re-release comes with a facelift and a new short story among other surprises. And to accompany this interview, Dianne’s provided a great excerpt to get us started on the next part of Ian’s journey.

 

Will you tell us a bit about Dragon Shield and what inspired you to write it?

Dragon Shield is the second book in the Ian’s Realm Saga. It was actually the first book I drafted, but once the story was written I had so many questions from my beta readers I knew I needed to write a prequel, hence Deception Peak. By the time the first book was written, so much had changed that Dragon Shield was almost entirely revamped aside from the characters, the plot and the theme.

I began the Ian’s Realm Sage to satisfy a need for my grandchildren. I have 9 grandsons and whereas my granddaughters were always reading, the boys were not. I asked them what kind of books they’d like, if they’d like a story about a dragon, and they were excited to be part of the conceptual process. While I painted a 9 ft 3 panel dragon painting, the story evolved.

 

Can we look forward to seeing more of Abbi and Ian’s father?

Yes. The next story is Rubies and Robbers and concludes the trilogy. Book IV is titled Diary of a Conjurer. That book weaves A Tale of the Four Wizards series into the Realm Saga. Book V is Cassandra’s Castle, and we have a couple of cameo appearances in that one. I’m still working on book VI, Abbott, which in the timeline comes somewhere after Diary but before Cassandra. I plan on doing a book VII but it hasn’t been outlined yet.

 

In Deception Peak, Ian learned some tough lessons and it’s one of the things I loved most – the “tough love” approach. Should we expect more from this second installment?

Most definitely, even more so in fact. The closer Ian comes to manhood, the tougher it is on him. He has some pretty hefty lessons to learn.

 

What are your favourite things about Ian? What makes him dear to your heart?

He’s so much like my grandsons. Life isn’t easy even for good people, and we all have flaws in our character. I think growing up, making that transition between child an adult, is the toughest thing people go through. Ian struggles to be a man when he’s still a child. He wants to make the right decisions and yet he stumbles not knowing how. I remember how awkward my coming of age experience was and all the mistakes I made. I feel for him.

 

Other than Ian, do you have a favourite character in Deception Peak?

Amleth. He was fashioned after someone I know, and I combined his traits with of the honor and just temperament of Native Americans I’ve met.

 

Are there any lines from Dragon Shield that stick out in your mind – any favourites, perhaps?

Yes. Aren is the one that says it to Ian. The words cut our hero like a knife. His indecisions and lack of backbone revealed him in a less than desirable light in the eyes of the Kaemperns.

 “Integrity isn’t just something you think about doing. Integrity is who you are.”

 

What is the main message(s) you’d like young readers (and older!) to take from Dragon Shield?

I love the way Shelia Deeth put it in one of her reviews. I’d like to quote if you don’t mind.

“After all, heroes aren’t born, they’re nurtured with wisdom from mistakes, valor from battles, and kindness from pain. Ian learns all these lessons in this book as he steps forward to take his father’s place, and learns there’s a lot more to leading than just saying no to potential followers.”

 

The re-released editions of Deception Peak and Dragon Shield have short stories about four young wizards. First was Silvio’s story and now, Meneka’s. What inspired you to write these stories?

There’s much more to the Realm than what Ian is seeing in his short time there. There’s legend, and these short stories introduce us to the magic, and conflict that is stirring in the Realm. They are doors to future books as well, and some of them hold little nuggets bout Ian’s story that you wouldn’t see otherwise. I am really glad we’re including them with the novels this time. I’d like everyone to have the chance to read them.

 

Speaking of inspiration …what inspired you to write YA fiction and what is it that keeps you coming back?

I love teens. I absolutely love them. I feel they are underrated and misunderstood. Like I said, growing up for me had been harder than any other part of life, and more so because of inner conflict. I’m hoping to shine a light in those dark places for young people.

 

And finally, a really fun question! If you were to write yourself into the story, where would you be and what would you be doing?

I’d be a Kaempern hunting with the guys and living in a yurt, catching the wild steeds from time to time and riding on the beach of Inlet Bay at sunset. 🙂

 

___ 7on fire

“On Fire” – Painting by Dianne Lynn Gardner in “Dragon Shield”

 

More about Dragon Shield

“Integrity isn’t something you do, it’s who you are,” Aren tells the confused Ian in  The Dragon Shield. 

Now a young man, Ian returns to the magical Realm to fight against the tyranny that has befallen his friends. But the Realm is a different place, the forest is dying, the Kaemperns have lost the shield that protected them from the dragon, and Ian has a hard time proving his allegiance when trouble follows him through the portal. His struggle to do right buries him in confusion, and he must fight his own will to prove his integrity. The Ian’s Realm Saga is filled with sorcery, wizards, magic, and fantasy adventure, great for young readers and the entire family.

 

Watch this award-winning trailer on Youtube.

Purchase a copy of Dragon Shield today over at Amazon!

 

 

Excerpt:

“You’re Kaemperns, aren’t you?”

The man didn’t speak, but Ian recognized the clothing and the men’s complexion as that of the Northern tribe.

He eyed Brad burying his head in the sheepskin. I guess we do look pretty suspicious, if not pathetic.

Ian cleared his throat. “I know we appear to be trespassing, but that’s not really the case. You see I’ve been here before. I know some of your people. If Amleth is still your chief, if he’s still around, please give him a message. Tell him Ian has returned.”

Their eyes grew wide, their faces paled and they exchanged glances.

“You recognize my name, then?”

“We’ve heard the name.”

“Well, that’s good. Amleth has too.”

The men proceeded to unarm him.

“Take that to Amleth,” Ian said, as they took his sheath from his belt. His voice was a bit shakier than he would have liked. “Show him my sword. It’s from a different world. He’ll know it’s mine.”

They took his bow off his shoulder and his quiver from his back.

“There’s not a bow around here that looks like that. Amleth will know where it comes from.” Ian watched with remorse as they gathered his things in their arms. But when they unfastened his armor from around his chest, it was all he could do to hold back his rage.

“This is my Dad’s armor,” he protested.

They said nothing as they unfastened the leather ties and pulled the metal chest guard away. He wanted to lash out at them but held back. If he were going to be accepted, he had to remain calm. This was a test, that’s all. They were testing to see if he was a friend.

Everything will be resolved when I talk to Amleth.

With the weaponry in hand, one of his captors knelt over and picked up the shield that lay by Brad’s bed.

“Hey,” Bran protested and jumped to his feet.

“Brad.” Ian said. His eyes stopped the boy.

“But…”

Ian shook his head. The man who held the shield asked. “What’s this?” After inspecting the shield, his comrade turned to Ian.

“You’re free to move about in this camp; eat, make a fire and stay warm. But you are under guard, and if you flee, we will find you. A second chance at leniency will be much harder to achieve.”

Ian nodded. “I have no plans of escaping. This is my destination.”

The men stepped out of the yurt with Ian and Brad’s belongings. When their footsteps could no longer be heard, Brad sat up.

“Let’s go,” he said.

Ian frowned at him. “We’re not going anywhere.”

“Are you crazy? We’re prisoners. We have to escape. That’s what prisoners do. You’ve got the remote. Click it and we’ll be gone. They’ll never find us.”

“What are you thinking? This isn’t a game.” Ian said “Is that what you think? That this is some kind of video game or something?”

Brad’s stare was blank.

“I’m here on a mission. Why you’re here is a puzzle I’ve yet to solve. You came here uninvited. You actually have no business being here.”

“It was an accident.”

“Accident? An accident that you were in my house–touching my things?”

Brad just squinted like he didn’t know what Ian was talking about.

 


 

More about Dianne, Ian’s Realm and her other works!

The Pacific Northwest is my home. After living in the dry desert of Arizona for over 23 years, I tired of always praying for rain, so I decided to come and get it on my own. Gray skies and deep forests give way to the most glorious summers you could ever imagine. Not to mention the abundance of berries, clams, oysters, salmon, fruits of all kinds, to me the Puget Sound area of Washington is the richest place in the world.

I have seven children, all grown. Sixteen grandchildren that need stories written, and so they are my inspiration.

People always find it fascinating that I lived in a mud house for over 13 years, hauling water from the well in a bucket, cooking on a wood stove, planting blue corn in desert washes, and generally living out of the box. Some of these experiences are tapped into my novels.

My website is http://gardnersart.com You’ll find books, audios, artwork and how our movie production is coming along on that site.

 

Deception Peak (Book 1 in the Ian’s Realm Saga) is also available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FCZ32MG

Other books by Dianne:

Altered, published by MKSP, can be purchased from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Altered-Dianne-Lynn-Gardner-ebook/dp/B00JLLZHNE/ref=la_B0090LIYEO_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397282182&sr=1-2

 

 

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Book Review: Deception Peak (Dianne Lynn Gardner)

Deception Peak by Dianne Lynn Gardner

Deception Peak
by Dianne Lynn Gardner

 

Are there really such things as Magical Realms? On the other side of your computer screen? For teenager Ian Wilson, his normal life will never be the same.

When a portal magically appears on his computer screen he follows his father through to a deceptively beautiful Realm, where horses run free, the wind sings prophetic melodies, and their computer avatars come to life.Then the two are separated and Ian is abducted by a tribe of dragon worshipers. He must find his courage as he struggles to obtain his freedom.

Will he find his escape?  

Can he find his father and discover the purpose for his magical journey or will his adventure end tragically?

If you enjoy wizards, magic, dragons, an adventure, fantasy and traveling to a different world, you will enjoy Deception Peak! Includes ‘Silvio: A Tale of the Four Wizards’.

***


My Review

Being a teen is tough – especially when you’re caught up in a world you know nothing about while your dad’s lost somewhere. The challenge of school and every day life will never be the same.

I’ve been excited to read Ian’s story since I first heard about his characters and “Deception Peak” did not disappoint. The story is adventurous and a pleasure to read, painting very real images with both words and beautiful visual art created by the author. I absolutely adore stories that pull you into a character and rumble around in their head with their highs and woes, like the internal struggles and growth Ian experiences. The story has consistent movement with plenty of action the reader gets to experience via Ian.

I enjoyed the contemporary elements and the ties to the real world throughout, making sure it’s never truly astray. Particularly touching is the father-son aspect which draws me in even more because it reminds me of my own family, where my father and brother share an interest in technology and working on projects together. It’s like being home.

The kindness shown by Amleth and others caught my heart, providing a lovely balance to other characters who aren’t as kind. I’m also a sucker for the varying emotions involved in the story, making the characters real like they should be in any great adventure. Sometimes the world is up and sometimes it’s down, but Ian keeps going. He has pluck and courage, yet there is certainly a lot of potential for him to grow! He faces several hefty lessons but his heart is in the right place, all of which is valuable to our youth who are reading and learning about the world and who they can be. I look forward to see how Ian progresses.

 

Want to read Deception Peak? Purchase it in print from Amazon or get it on Kindle. There’s even an audio version. Or, you can also purchase it in print from Barnes & Noble.

 

Stay tuned for more about Dianne this week with her exciting re-release of Dragon Shield, the second installment in the Ian’s Realm Saga! On Friday, May 9th, I’ll be posting an interview with the author and more.


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Adults Reading YA Books: How is This a Problem?

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What’s your first response when you read this?

Mine was “what does it matter?”, followed by the urge to blog about how ridiculous it is that there’s a need to defend oneself against this judgement.

I found this meme a few days ago while reading through my Facebook News Feed, posted by another author.  Then yesterday, I discovered this article by Giselle/Book Nerd Canada in response to a posting on Facebook.

Why is this even a thing? What purpose does it serve for one group of people to look down upon another just because someone considered an adult wants to read books which are aimed towards younger adults? As far as I’m concerned, if you like reading YA books, knock your socks off. No one should have to defend themselves against something like this.

A story is a story, regardless of age. The story may be their thing based on an individual’s point of view, but it is what it is. Readers read want they like. Adults have the ability to choose what they want to read in most parts of the world, and if they find YA exciting and interesting, great! You know what it means?

It means people are reading.

That’s it. And you know what? That’s the important part we ought to be focusing on. In a world where we value literacy, that’s the goal we should be keeping in mind. Not to mention that it means storytelling lives on! The desire (and need, as some would argue) for our species to tell stories, share, and communicate ideas and experiences is incredibly alive. Adults need stories as much as our youth. So what if a particular story may be presented through the eyes of a 16 year old? We should be more interested in understanding the messages in that story. We need those messages. We need to hear the same things over and over whether they be messages of love, hope, need, overcoming challenges, becoming a better person, or exploring the strengths and weaknesses in the human condition.

We also need the dialogue created around those stories. What can we learn? What does it tell us about ourselves and each other? Just the simple act of coming together to say how something touched us brings us closer together as people, sharing something beautiful. Sometimes it leaves inspiration behind, becoming a creation that sparks creation. Now that’s some real magic.

Let’s be honest: age is just one variable to make a story, helping to give it perspective and an identity. Tell a story with a 16 year old protagonist. Then, tell it with a 50 year old. It won’t be the same because of their experiences but that’s what makes them equally special. The world seen from the eyes of the youth will be different than an adult – but that’s not a bad thing. It provides a rounder viewer of the world, especially when you’re an adult in an adult’s brain. While we used to be “that age”, we get wrapped up in “what adults do” in the “grown up” world. I’d like to think that being an adult willing to delve into the YA stories allows for broader perspective and openness. It can be a fantastic exercise. On one hand, we can connect better to our adult selves. At the same time, we can connect to our younger selves – maybe even learn more about who we were as youths when we didn’t understand. That knowledge may even allow us to better understand who we are as adults.

Thanks to Giselle’s article, I was able to follow through on a few other articles on the issue. After reading all of them, I think Kelly Jensen’s article “Ridiculous Ways the Internet Explains Why Adults Read YA”, is my favourite though Malinda Lo’s, “Unpacking why adults read young adult fiction“, is a good read, too. Both of these come down to the same conclusion:

Adults read YA books because they want to. Because they derive something from it. It’s not the same something, but there’s something they like. Something that grabs them.

There’s absolutely no reason anyone should feel the need to justify it. No reason to be shamed. No reason to be considered “abnormal”. The meme above shouldn’t have any reason to exist. The Facebook excerpt in Giselle’s article shouldn’t have reason to include the labels of “weirdly YA-obsessed adult”.

This sounds a bit backwards and warped to me, this attitude that YA is somehow lesser than its adult counterparts. Treating YA literature as if it’s good enough only for youths and not adults doesn’t make sense … especially considering we want our youth to read these stories during their formative years – the time when the things influencing their minds and actions are so incredibly important, ushering them into who they will be as adults. These are the stories that teach them messages and meaning, that give them new perspectives and ideas, sparking the flames of imagination and new thinking.

Instead of looking down on YA literature as if it’s “dumbed down”, we need to be giving the YA genre the best of the best to give our youth the best. We need to see YA literature as important to us all. Treating it like low-grade, second rate literature does us all a great disservice. Because really, if as adults we judge it as crap, why are we allowing our youth to read it? These are the people who will control the world in the future. Let’s give them some respect, and respect the works written with their demographic in mind.

And lastly, I want to flip the issue and look at it from an author’s perspective. It’s an insult. If people think adults reading YA books is weird and abnormal, what does it say about the adults who write them? Only a portion of society are writers; of them, only a portion write YA literature. It’s not for everybody, requiring passion for the stories and an ability to get into the YA thinking which not everyone can do. We won’t discriminate against the ages of our audience, though. We can’t afford to, sure, but why would we want to? If adults want to read the YA stories we write, fantastic! Thanks for reading because every individual counts. If we touch anyone’s heart and/or mind, that’s gold – regardless of age.

I’d also like to point out that in many cases, it’s adults who get the YA books into YA hands, from publishers and reviewers to parents and teachers. It’s particularly helpful if parents read the work and pass it on to their kids. They can directly influence youth to read and know what the kids are reading. Adults who read YA and share those stories with their kids are amazing – not only are they being a great role model and responsible parent, but there’s a chance to relate to each other and talk about something. There’s an opportunity for communication and sharing between parent and child. And that’s beautiful.

I think I’ve finally found the end of the post. To wrap it up, I just want to leave it with some positive thinking. Reading is reading. Investing the time into storytelling is time well spent. We’ve got young adults who read adult literature. We’ve got adults who read YA literature. At the end of the day, people are reading. Let’s just focus on that and let the rest fall away.