Author’s name: Kandi J Wyatt
Title of book and/or series: Uprooted Book 1 Four Stars over Ardatz: Sovereigns
Brief summary of the story: Far from home, an 18-year-old servant caught between castle intrigue and kingdom infighting must decide where his loyalties lie or lose those closest to him.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story: The world was a normal planet, until the smallest of three moons drifted from its orbit and a part of the moon slammed into the northern hemisphere, knocking the planet off its axis. Now the northern-most side of the planet is in constant darkness and the southern half is in constant sun with only a very narrow strip of just-right climate where plants can grow. There’s a youtube video that tells the legend of the four stars.
If we were to visit Ardatz as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there? There are several regions to Ardatz. If you go to the darklands, visit Skymna. You’ll want to be sure to visit the capital, Huvudstadan, then go north to Stad. It’s just a small village, but if you visit the first lunar cycle of the synod (twelve lunar cycles), you’ll catch the Festival of Stars, an event that is a highlight and celebrates the two moons as well as the stars that light our way in the absence of Handi and Tsiki.
If you can handle the ball of fire in the sky known as Graen, you’ll enjoy a visit to the brightlands. Muintir has a stable government and provides most of the produce for both the brightlands and the darklands. The best place to visit is Cahar, its capital city, and if you get a chance to visit the castle, do so. It’s open during the Queen’s Feast during the Worker’s Festival.
What dangers should we avoid in Ardatz? There are several dangers. Dragons are known to roam the extreme areas of Ardatz, and everyone knows how nice they are! The tales say dragons would rather eat you than let you live in peace.
Besides that, the farther south you travel, Graen itself becomes a danger. Its rays kill all plant life and will burn any skin that’s exposed. I’ve heard of people who live in Aeguskey. They cover their faces to protect themselves from Graen. There are even tales of merchants on the Inferno Trail. I’d not go there, but then again, I grew up under Handi and Tsiki’s light and Graen is too bright for me.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Ardatz? Again, it depends on where you’re at. Tsiki’s Choice, the inn where I’m a stable hand, serves a hearty stew, and Malene, the innkeeper, has an excellent ale. As for Muintir, I’d love to taste a good apple—one that’s not mushy or tough when I bite into it.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Ardatz? Up until I was sold to a warrior, I wouldn’t have known much about fighting except what I’ve heard in stories. But recently, I’ve discovered that Muintir uses leather armor and fights well on horses. Skymnian soldiers wear chain mail and are excellent against archers. The Skymnian army is the reason we’ve known the peace we have for many synods. Aeguskian warriors are excellent horsemen and mounted archers. They can take out a regiment of soldiers without any problem, much to my mentor’s despair.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Ardatz? We travel by horseback and wagons. I’ve been told the ancients used other travel means, but I have no idea how they would have worked.
As for animals, there are cows, sheep, goats, pucklings. Oh, yeah, you might not have heard of the wooly ducks. They look like a llama on a duck body. Their wool is prized by royalty. As for predators, there are fox, wolves, hawks, owls, you name it.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Ardatz that we don’t see on Earth? I met my first jiddee’adar on my trip to Muintir. He seemed ordinary enough, but then I saw him in action! A jiddee’adar can manipulate the natural order of things using either earth, air, water, fire, or plants. They usually find a creature that’s at home in that element that works with them. Their power is portrayed in a glow that emits along their wrists and temples. It’s either white, brownish, blue, green, or red depending on the focus of their magic.
I mentioned dragons. They’re known to come in many different colors. Blues control storms, while whites use the cold around them as a weapon. Both of these are found in the far reaches of the darklands. Browns and oranges are known to roam in Aeguskey’s hot deserts, and greens can be found in any region, although I’ve never met a dragon. Muintir and the other habitable brightlands countries have known dragon kings in their histories. These are men who have bonded with silver dragons.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Ardatz? If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used. Jeeah gave us the jiddee’adar to help transition after the impact. Their ability to manipulate the elements protected the people of Ardatz. But with all power comes those who’d twist it. Those who sought to use the power wrongly or who weren’t naturally gifted became sanyalee. They use stones imbued with power as focus points or other powerful items.
The more I’m around jiddee’adar, I realize they have great power. They can cast bolts of magic, call up fire, or even control plants or the wind. Jiddee’adar mold their element to their needs and to the people’s needs around them.
Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Ardatz? If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples. Before the Impact, I’ve heard there were wonderous items once. There’s a story of a young man in the darklands going out to prove himself by staying out in the elements. He stumbled upon a stash of the ancients. No one really knows what they were used for, though.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Ardatz. There are the regular games that kids play with balls and such. Cahar’s Queen’s Feast showcases the Rittider, the king’s elite body guards, as they dual with swords.
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Ardatz as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there? At one point in time, before the Impact, time was measured by Graen’s movements, but after the Impact, time now revolves around the moons—predominantly Handi since it can be seen both in the darklands and the brightlands. What used to be called days are now moonsteps. Seven moonsteps are a phase, and four phases are a lunar cycle. There are twelve lunar cycles in a turn or rotation (darklands’ term) or synod.
As for holidays and special events. The Festival of Stars is once a turn at the beginning of the synod when neither Handi nor Tsiki grace the sky. The citizens go to the center of the village and send up lanterns into the sky. Leading up to it, there are songs and everyone gives gifts during that time.
I’ve already mentioned the Workers’ Festival earlier.
Is there a particular religion practiced in Ardatz? Please describe what it involves. Some people worship Jeeah. I’d never really heard about him until I traveled to Muintir. He’s the one they believe is the creator. As far as I can tell, they pray to Jeeah and read works that are said to be from Him or His followers. His followers tend to be kind and loving people.
What is the political or government structure in Ardatz? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she? Ardatz has three large regions—Eelarga in the dark north, Atsegena—the just right area—and Aeguesky. Then those regions are divided into individual countries. Most are ruled by kings and queens. Twilli has an emperor. Before that, there were tribal-ruled areas. In Skymna, Orvar Melkar is the king. His dynasty has ruled as long as histories exist of Skymna. Muintir is a relatively new country, and King Athair and Queen Kaylynn rule. Their daughter Siobhan is a beauty, but also a fireball. Don’t tell her I said that. I’m in enough trouble with her as it is.
Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit Ardatz? Not really. I did learn when visiting Ovar Melkar, you need an appointment and must never look up at him.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book? Skymna is from Sweden while Muintir is based on the Irish language and loosely on Ireland itself. The royal home of the kings of Muintir is from Castle Balleynahinch. My family heritage is from both Sweden and Ireland. One of my ancestors was Swedish, and he saved the king’s life during battle. As a reward, he got to marry the princess!
Even as a young girl, Kandi J Wyatt, had a knack for words. She loved to read them, even if it was on a shampoo bottle! By high school Kandi had learned to put words together on paper to create stories for those she loved. Nowadays, she writes for her kids, whether that's her own five or the hundreds of students she's been lucky to teach. When Kandi's not spinning words to create stories, she's using them to teach students about Spanish, life, and leadership.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book(s)? Please include links.
Uprooted, Book 1 Four Stars over Ardatz: Sovereigns is available in all formats—paperback, ebook, and hardback. You can watch the trailer on youtube.
Where can readers connect with you online? I’m available on Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Bookbub, Goodreads, youtube, pinterest with a dedicated board for Four Stars over Ardatz Sovereigns, and my website. You can also sign up for my newsletter and receive book 2 of my Dragon Courage series for free. (Book 1 is permanently free).