Today I’m hosting a book tour for fellow Champagne Book Group author Renee Wildes and we’re chatting with her about her Guardian of Light series. Renee, what inspired you to write A Guardian’s Destiny?
In Book 1, A Guardian’s Heart,the heroine Dara was assigned a lady’s maid named Verdeen. More than anything, Verdeen dreamt of entering the Warrior Academy and becoming a Ranger. So I wanted to do a book about her AFTER she graduated.
I’m very pro education. Unfortunately my coveted Warrior Academy scholarship fell through, but I love when young people have career aspirations. Let’s not talk about me and my unfulfilled dreams. Instead, can you tell us a little bit about the characters in A Guardian’s Destiny?
Verdeen (Heroine)—an elven vertenya (female warrior) whose dreams of becoming a Ranger are dashed when no war-mare chooses to partner with her after graduation. All she wants is to change the world like her idol, Queen Dara, did.
Aryk (Hero)—humandaq (ruling chieftain) on Isadorikja, the Isle of Ice, who dreams of uniting his six fractious clans into a peaceful united whole. When he brings his proposal to the outside world, he’s brought before Loren, High King of the Cymry, the Eastdawn Elves (Dara’s husband), who assigns Verdeen to him as a bodyguard/counselor (and spy).
I’m always up for elves. But seriously, though, how did you come up with the concept and characters for A Guardian’s Destiny?
Aryk’s people are known as rievers to the outside world (think Viking raiders), so I did a lot of research into the Spartans, the Vikings, and Iceland for cultures and setting. I wondered what would make a warrior want to hang up his sword, and came up with the idea of a vision he has about his son’s death by sword. The only way he can prevent it is to ensure Joro never picks one up, which means the children need other career options. And so a desire for peace and trade with other nations was born.
Tell us about your main characters—what makes them tick?
Verdeen is young and idealistic, but very single-minded about her life’s path, so when things don’t go as planned, she has no Plan B. She’s sacrificed everything to become a warrior, including her family (her parents disowned her when she quit the palace for the Academy). She had NO prior romantic experience with men, so her attraction to Aryk throws her for a loop.
Aryk faces open skepticism from every front to his plans for peace. Even his best friend Valkyn thinks he’s mad. When the elven king forces him to take on an unblooded cadet, he’s resentful and worried she’ll get herself killed. Romance was not on his original agenda, but he starts to wonder if a political alliance to Cymry, though marriage, might be possible—if they survive the coming unification battles.
By the way, I LOVE your book covers. The cover for Book Three, A Guardian Revealed is my favorite. Who designed them?
They’re really stunning. You know what else would be stunning? A movie based on your series. If your book WAS made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I based Verdeen on Miranda Otto’s portrayal of Eowyn in the LOTR films, and Aryk is based on Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of Stelios in 300.
Oh, I love that. I’m a huge LOTR fan. Every fall when the weather turns wild, I re-read The Hobbit. I need a journey every now and then. Next question – how did you come up with name of this book?
It was originally entitled Riever’s Heart when it was published by Samhain. When Champagne Book Group picked up the whole series, we decided to retitle the books. Since the series is Guardians of Light, we put ‘Guardian’ is each of the titles. Since Aryk’s catch-phrase is “Stovak nos briel” (“Destiny Awaits”) I decided this one should be A Guardian’s Destiny. It’s especially appropriate b/c Verdeen is of two minds about what the elves call The Destiny Hand.
Thanks Renee! Next up, I share more information on Renee’s exciting Guardians of Light series.