Welcome to Hound Day, Kadee
By Jeff Salter
When I realized Kadee Carder had a new book coming out right after the New Year started, I definitely wanted to be in on the launch. She’s graciously agreed to submit to my interview questions… and I’m extremely impressed by her responses. I think you will be also.
[Note from Jeff: Through Kadee’s replies, I’ve learned something brand new — a Roomba is an automatic vacuum. It’s a blue, foot-wide circular vacuum with a cordless charging port. But the rest of you likely already knew that. Tell you the truth, I had assumed it was something like a dancing ferret.]
Fierce yet sparkly, I help seekers find brave new worlds. The goal is magic, the medium is ink, and the fuel is coffee. And sometimes pizza. I teach writing on the university level when I’m not dancing around the living room with my family, lifting heavy at the gym, traveling the planet (on foot or Google maps), or binging superhero shows.
Book title: Here Be Dragons
Release date: January 2, 2018
Genre: YA Sci Fi / Action Adventure
Alliance Military Guard sent the order. Sergeant Tucker Thompson acquiesced. Hopping a plane to his long-lost Australian birthplace, he’s been charged with his toughest mission yet. Thompson must rally his company of soldiers to prevent a new generation of weaponry from breaching the world’s borders.
Pound the war drums. Rattle the cages. Here be Dragons.
Here Be Dragons is a standalone novel, but it does follow my Insurrection trilogy. We see a few characters we met in there. Tucker was the romantic interest from the trilogy. After writing the trilogy, I felt like I wanted readers to know Tucker more, and he had to complete this assignment. Might as well follow along! No need to have read the trilogy; this book records its own wild adventure!
The INSURRECTION trilogy, HERE BE DRAGONS, and IGNITE roll out perilous motives, twisty plots, and daring protagonists. Grab some real estate and your copy of my latest adventure, and follow along at KadeeCarder.com.
Purchase Here Be Dragons on Kindle Unlimited for only $4.99:
How did you wrangle a job teaching writing? That’s been a life-long dream of mine.
[ * Kadee * ] — Working full time as an office manager at a church, spending hours of my life folding bulletins and doing other tasks which left my creative side wanting, I decided to get my Master of Fine Arts degree through National University. It’s an online university, located in La Jolla, California. I figured possibly I could do something in the field of writing or teaching writing. I’ve always loved words in a weird, obsessive way. Getting the job with Liberty University was an absolute miracle. I finished up my MFA and after several months I applied to different online universities. Most of them want a doctorate, but I guess Liberty took a chance on me. Several more months after applying, I received an email from a lady asking if I was going to complete my training. “Whaaat?” I asked with my hands on my cheeks, my jaw dropped. So I skittered over to my computer. I don’t know if I was a glitch in the system or what kind of strings God had to pull, but he brought me to Liberty and I’ve been so grateful for the last six years with them.
Your heavy lifting at the gym… is that to build mass? Or to tone up? Or is it for flexibility and strength?
[ * Kadee * ] — “Physical strength begets mental strength” (Jill Coleman). A good friend of mine introduced me to exercising with our babies at a group called Stroller Strength when my daughter was a baby. We eventually found a local woman who taught these amazing classes which utilized heavy weights and I was hooked. I loved the challenge and the feeling of seizing my own outcomes. Most of what you do in real life, you can’t control your outcomes. But I determine if I keep lifting those weights. There’s never been a day where I regretted going to the gym and leaving it all on the floor.
Who’s your favorite superhero? Why?
[ * Kadee * ] — I love the Green Arrow. The show Arrow has a fantastic plot and the way they told the story is just intriguing. Stephen Amell plays the character Arrow in the TV show, and he can actually do the stunts. He did the American Ninja Warrior course! What I like most about Green Arrow is his redemption and his trials—he went from being a party-boy rich kid, all the way to a warrior who constantly fights day and night to save his family, his friends, and his city. He has a story of heart and courage, and that’s my favorite kind of story.
If you could write yourself into an episode (or novel) with that superhero, which character would YOU be?
[ * Kadee * ] — Ooh, this one’s tough! In reality, I’d probably be like Felicity, who’s the computer techie in the background. But if I could, I would write myself as the Canary (Sara), who fights by his side and they have a mutual respect for each other (as well as abilities to kick tail!).
How did you decide between Here Be Dragons becoming a stand-alone story vs. turning the trilogy into a quarto?
[ * Kadee * ] — While “they” say readers like a series, I haven’t seen proof of that. I wanted any person to be able to pick up Here Be Dragons and enjoy Tucker’s story. I figure Dragons will appeal more to males than the Insurrection trilogy. However, if it wants to make them read the trilogy, then, fantastic! We get to meet Tucker in the trilogy, but it’s all from Saylor’s perspective. Tucker is her love interest. I felt like readers didn’t have enough time with him in the trilogy, but would enjoy going on a mission with him, and hearing it from his perspective in Dragons.
How much coffee do you drink? What kind? When (during the day) do you consume it?
[ * Kadee * ] — Ha! How many hours is the sun up? Actually, I drink two or three cups a day, depending on if I have my toddler all day or if she’s at school. She’s a one-person hurricane. I like a cup first thing in the morning, and one after my workout but before lunch. And maybe one before I pick up the other from school… Okay, do I need to be honest on this one? <waves finger guns. Grins.> I love a great cup of Kona coffee, or some Starbucks Breakfast Blend. Hold on. I think I need to go make a cup right now, with all this coffee talk.
I believe I recall seeing that you and I share a cover artist. Did Amanda Matthews create your trilogy covers also?
[ * Kadee * ] — YES! Amanda Matthews has designed all four of my covers and I adore her work. She gives me exactly what I ask for and I’m so grateful for her talent.
Here Be Dragons has been out for just over a week now. Have the sales met your expectations?
[ * Kadee * ] — I believe Dragons has been my biggest release yet and I am so glad to see some traction with readers. I love good stories. They’re one of my favorite things. So, to get stories into readers’ hands, it’s a huge thrill for me. I’m still quite far away from getting my books into print; I continue to work hard to reach those goals my publisher has set for me so I can finally hold these adventures and flip through them.
What jobs have you held besides your teaching gig at Liberty University?
[ * Kadee * ] — I started off at Reid’s Dry Cleaners in high school. That job set the tone for all of my other work since! I spent a couple years working in the university book store during college, and then at a medium-sized church after I graduated. I did everything from folding bulletins to writing, filming, and editing short movies and creating graphics for newsletters and ads.
Where did you go to school and what degree did you complete?
[ * Kadee * ] — I attended Howard Payne University and earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, with a specialization in Public Relations. Quite a mouthful, eh? I minored in theatre. And then I completed my Master of Fine Arts degree with National University.
Do you have a favorite author who writes in the same genre as you do?
[ * Kadee * ] — My favorite author is Madeleine L’Engle. She…she’s not alive currently, so I don’t know if we can say, “writes,” but she wrote young adult science fiction. Her book Walking On Water inspired me to get my MFA and to pursue writing. While she’s most known for A Wrinkle In Time, I preferred the third book in that series—A Swiftly Tilting Planet—and I adore her later non-fiction works. I love how her non-fiction reads in a manner like we’re sitting down to coffee and chatting. I hope my writing can be that way too.
I see you have a family. What about pets?
[ * Kadee * ] — I do have two sweet girls and a husband who continually helps me plot. We have a cat. And a Roomba named Blueberry. It’s a full house over here.
I’ve seen a photo of you in a boxing pose. Is this part of your workout cardio? Or do you fight?
[ * Kadee * ] — Yes! I like to dabble in various styles of workouts. I usually wear my black gloves because they remind me that I can be stronger than I sometimes feel. When I go to kickboxing class I am definitely reminded of that. I am incredibly clumsy. I would love to learn more about self-defense and boxing, but no, I don’t fight. Unless you count tangles in hair. Or hangers in the closet. But I’m usually up for trying something new.
Have you ever gotten story ideas from dreams? What have they turned into (in your writing)?
[ * Kadee * ] — I have gotten a few story ideas from dreams. Mostly I use ideas while washing dishes or going on my daily walks. I like to use real life as a foundation for my fiction.
I have some kin – cousins to my wife and also relatives of my son-in-law – who live (or have lived) in Round Rock. What is that place like?
[ * Kadee * ] — Round Rock was where I grew up! I love it! I attended Round Rock High School. Our mascot were the dragons—so it’s possible my fascination with dragons spawns from that fearlessness we were encouraged to obtain. The city has grown over the years, and what once was a quaint town is now a bustling traffic jam. It’s a place of history—the Chisholm Trail served as an important stop on the cattle drives, and they would pass right by the big, round rock in the river. It’s a place of family, of the Dell Diamond where the Express plays baseball under the glowing lights, and a place of growth for families of all kinds. It’s a place to thrive in a community but also a place to live out your dreams. It’s about fifteen or twenty minutes from Austin and packed with parks, shopping (IKEA!), and great dining. Time to go plan a trip to see your family! You’ll love it!
In your bio, you mentioned a love for traveling. Do you still live near home?
[ * Kadee * ] — Globetrotting sounds pretty amazing, and both of my sisters did that, but I still live in central Texas. Because of my family, I’ve gotten to visit Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Heathrow Airport (it’s kind of a city in itself) and the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi and Dubai). My family has given me a love for the coursing of the earth. My sister took me up to the top of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, in Dubai. Traveling shows a person true humility and wonder. That’s a gift I hope to inspire in my own family, and hopefully my readers as well when they get to visit the exotic locales where I send my characters to explore. That said, I do live in a small town, which actually IS a big adjustment from living in the city. Most stores close around 5:00 PM and the biggest store is Walmart. You want an adventure? Try to find a red, three-inch wide belt on a Saturday night before Christmas. There’s an adventure.
If sales (money) and critics (reviews) were immaterial to you, what genre and length would you write?
[ * Kadee * ] — What a great question! I think I’d try writing all sorts of genres. I would like to try some murder-mystery ideas I’ve got sizzling. I also like writing non-fiction. I thoroughly enjoy young adult. I purposefully chose YA because I want to write stories for those who seek. As Madeleine L’Engle wrote, “If the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” At heart I’m still sixteen and I write for who I was yesterday.
Have you ever encountered people who seem unable / unwilling to comprehend that writing is something you are driven to do?
[ * Kadee * ] — I don’t know many people who have written books and gotten them published. Most people in my life say, “Oh, that’s neat!” when I say that I’ve written books, but I think there’s little respect for it because they don’t buy the books. (Ha! Let’s just laugh about it. Why not.) However, I do have many artistic and creative people in my life who encourage me to keep writing and to keep on with my art. I think they understand creating art, but because I live in a smaller place where money is usually tight, there’s a limit to who’s willing to invest. But the people who show up, the people who cheer me on, those are the ones who make it into my books and will live on much longer than they realize, in a very magical way.
If you were not a writer, can you imagine what else you might do to express the creativity within you?
[ * Kadee * ] — All art has at some point been an interest of mine. Maybe not drawing as much as others. I truly don’t know what I would do without words. I have always loved words and how they connect together. They’re a big puzzle that continually intertwine and dance about. I’d probably do more theatre or singing if I didn’t write.
Give us at least one example of someone who has contacted you and expressed how much your writing meant to them.
[ * Kadee * ] — I did have a lady contact me on Facebook, saying that my writing had encouraged her. Hearing those messages that a soul was inspired after identifying with my struggles was pretty amazing. That’s what I want. I want others to read the stories and feel alive, to be inspired, to do bigger things than they thought they could do.
In the interviews & blog questions you’ve handled over the years, what is one writing question which you’ve WISHED had been asked of you… but never has been asked?
[ * Kadee * ] — I’d love to have an interview with JJ Abrams or Joss Whedon, where they ask me if I’d like to help write a script to translate my books into movies. And then they ask me if I’d like to pick the cast, and then they ask if I’d like to help on set, and then they can ask me basically to get the coffee because that would be the dream right there.
How did you do research to create this fantasy world?
[ * Kadee * ] — I spent hours researching for Here Be Dragons by watching YouTube videos and wandering Google Earth using Street View. I wandered the streets of Australia, where the Alliance Military Guard sends Tucker—Exmouth, Perth, Alice Springs, Rottnest Island, and all the highways in between. I found an amazing bell tower in Perth. I also used our Virtual Reality set in our media room to wander around Australia using the Google Earth app. Once I saw the places and got as close as possible from a computer, I searched for any YouTube videos and websites about weather, how the places would actually feel and sound, so I could capture those other textures.
Question (for visitors): What is your number one struggle on the road to accomplishing your goals?
[JLS # 366]