Three years ago, I started on a journey that I had no clue what it would bring. I may have been excited about putting the Dragon Courage series out into the publishing realm, but little did I imagine I’d have ten books published with another three written and waiting their turn to be published. The story of An Unexpected Adventure started three years ago with the release of Dragon’s Future.
The impetus for the book
Back in the fall of 2015, I was teaching my first year in a school I loved to be at. It’s where three of my five kids had graduated and all five have attended. I wanted to be there and couldn’t have been happier. Dragon’s Future had just released, and I was given the freedom to add books to my list of to-be-published with my publisher. I began to dream. What could I do?
One day returning from Coos Bay, the town an hour north of us, I crossed the Coquille River and had the thought of what would happen if a dragon flew down the river.
That brought about an idea of a story based in my area. Now, I just needed more information.
At the same time four students stood out to me as I taught. Two of them were sixth graders in my study hall class, and two were eighth graders in my Spanish class. The four didn’t really know each other, and I really only knew them from class and didn’t know their families. However, the more I interacted with them at school, the more I wondered if I wrote them into a story if they’d read it.
The inspiration for Harley came from a student that went to church with me. I knew his family, and he was open about what they enjoyed or didn’t enjoy. Although the physical description of Harley is from that student, Harley really is a blend of the student and my own son.
The B&B is from a dream my husband and I have to one day run one. The photography that Harley’s dad does is because my husband is a photographer. Harley’s mom is probably more characteristically me.
During study hall, the other student sat quietly and drew. He didn’t say much. While in Spanish class, he brought me to tears when he brought in a shell from a WWII ship. All I really knew about him was he had a kind heart and what he looked like. So, Will’s character evolved based on that.
It wasn’t until later that I realized that the inspiration for Will had very kind, and humorous, parents who are involved in his life. Whereas, Will in the books has very unengaged parents.
The inspiration for Chase came from an eighth grader who embodied the stereotypical Oregon boy. He was raised on a farm up the river, went hunting and fishing, and his dad logged. His roots showed in how he dressed and talked. However, he also seemed to get put down for his heritage. So, I wanted to honor the basis of life here in our area–hunting, fishing, and logging. In so doing, I created Chase’s dad–the hard-working, get-up-early logger.
The inspiration for Cherise was a very talkative girl in my Spanish class. She worked with the student who inspired Chase. It wasn’t until about half-way through the semester that the kids tried to tell me that the student never spoke in any of her other classes. I couldn’t believe it! She proved to me she could go a whole class period without saying a word. However, Cherise has the same characteristics I saw in this student while she was in my class. Her love for her dog comes into play later in the series, and I received permission to add him into book three.
You’ve seen the cover, but I’m so excited about it. You see, I got to go out with three of those students to do the photo session for the stock photos. I was given permission from their parents to use them on the cover! So, we have Will, Harley, and Chase (from left to right). Unfortunately, the student who inspired Cherise had moved away and couldn’t make it back for the session.
What people are saying about the book
One Amazon reviewer gave the book five stars.
“An Unexpected Adventure, for me, turned into an unexpected delight. Kandi Wyatt manages to mix reality and fantasy in perfect proportions in this tale.”
Where to get your copy
Today the book is live on all the outlets! Unfortunately, amazon has not linked the paperback and the kindle edition so there will be two different links.